It would seem that I started an episode of road rage. It developed into dangerous driving at speeds of over 70mph on a public road.
I came off the anti-clockwise M25 at junction 8A and was heading to the southbound M23. I say heading, but given the traffic, I think pointing towards is a more accurate description.
I can understand any driver feeling frustrated. My average speed from the A43 junction on the M40 to junction 8A was just on 28mph, and there were no holdups on the M40.
There are two lanes off the M25 for those wanting the M23, the inside one often going a little faster as cars turn off north, but there’s little to choose. Neither lane was moving any faster than a lame snail could manage. I was tired. I was irritated. I was hungry.
The two lanes merge into a single lane just before it meets the M23. Most drivers observed the ‘zip’ method of allowing one from one lane and the next from the other. I could see the occasional stroppy driver, but these were remarkable few.
I allowed a family in a crossover, a Qashqai I think, to go in front and received a wave from a kid in the rear seat as well as the flash of hazards. The car on my offside, a Land Rover Disco or Freelander, had dropped behind me, no doubt expecting to be let in, but no such luck. The car behind me, a 4×4 open truck, called an Outlaw (says it all about the driver), pulling a two axle trailer, was having none of it.
It was nothing to do with me and in normal circs I’d have allowed them to fight it out among themselves but the Outlaw driver brought me into it by driving just a few inches from my rear bumper. And it was a few inches, about 4-6 I’d say. It was intimidating enough when stationary but as soon as I moved forward, he did so too and tried to maintain the same distance.
If I’d had to stop suddenly I’d have suffered damage. I believe there was a call centre person just waiting to phone me to ask if I had whiplash.
I didn’t want this to carry on so I waved the Landy through. I accelerated, pulled to my right and entered the M23 slower than the Landy.
There was nothing coming from behind on the M23 so I accelerated into the outside lane and slotted in behind a slowish car. The centre lane was going faster but all I wanted to do was to get away from the Outlaw.
I was successful as he had crossed over the hatched area onto the slip from the clockwise M25 and had accelerated into the nearside lane. The Landy, in the middle lane, got alongside, slowed and boxed him in behind a slow van.
The two vehicles tried to block each other all along the M23, causing cars to brake or swerve. One pulled suddenly into the outside lane, now going at about 70mph but falling behind the two squabbling vehicles.
I lost sight of them just before the Gatwick turnoff.
Was it all my fault? I was irritated that an action of mine had seemingly generated this dangerous driving, but then I have a right to legally try and stop the car behind ramming me, even at low speed.
The driver of the Qashqai had the right idea. He stayed in the nearside lane, braked to allow the Outlaw to pull into the M23, then just cruised along.